The University of Wisconsin-Madison has been granted $700,000 of federal money – your tax dollars – in order to train its staff in “unconscious biases.”
The money, which has been provided by the National Institutes of Health, will be paid in two separate sums totalling $723,637.
It will be used to fund a study entitled ‘Breaking the Bias Cycle for Future Scientists: A Workshop to Learn, Experience, and Change,’ where university staff will be analysed and trained in order to rid themselves of their supposed biases towards female and and minority students.
The research is supposedly inspired by research suggesting that “the mere existence of cultural stereotypes about racial and ethnic groups can invisibly and inadvertently impede opportunities for underrepresented minority students.”
“The education plan’s overarching objective is to train the mentors of students about the concepts of implicit or unconscious bias, the effects of these biases on underrepresented minority students in training, and the strategies to mitigate race-based bias within labs, departments, and institutions,” the grant description claims.
The program will include exercises such as workshops and “train the trainer” sessions for staff deemed to be employing an “unconscious bias.”
According to Meredith McGlone, UW’s Director of News and Media Relations, the training will be specifically targeted at professors in science subjects, such as Maths, Engineering and Technology in order to try and overcome the gender imbalance in those subjects.
Talking to Campus Reform, McGlone added that “This training, based on research that suggests all of us have implicit biases that can affect the way we treat others, can help scientists ‘walk in the shoes’ of younger colleagues and become more effective mentors.”